Announcing . . .

Today I am delighted to announce that A Gentle Unfolding: Circling and Spiralling into Meaning, has been re-published. Five years ago the editor of the Good Samaritan Sisters website, The Good Oil, asked me to write something suitable for Vocation Sunday, not a topic I particularly wanted to write about. But I wrote it.

Under the title My God Dream, it began like this: At some point in my early teens, just when I was discovering there was more to the opposite sex than beneath-my-notice little brothers, I fell in love with God. Which is why, aged 16, wearing a fetching little hat and my first pair of high heels, I left my weeping parents and chuffed off to be a nun . . . and I followed it up with these words:

While the rest of my class prepared to be nurses, teachers or secretaries, I was one of the chosen ones! In the terminology of the day, I had a vocation. Nobody questioned it, least of all me. In the family photo album there is a shot of my mother and me taken the day of my first vows. There I am, all flowing black and white, my 18-year-old face encircled by a stiff coif, and there’s my mum in a smart, tight-fitting suit, spike heels and red nails.

That picture captures something of what I understand about vocation. It’s a trust in something way bigger than the imagination can capture. In its first heady romantic moments it makes light of the cost. That’s why my mother’s spike heels and red nails didn’t stand a chance against God. Vocation is not about the what, but the Who.

Writing that piece led me to reflect on the fact that I was one of thousands who left religious life after Vatican 2. I believe later generations will look back and analyse the effect that had on lay ministry in the Catholic Church, so I decided to write a book about my experience of those years, putting it in a framework of events, movements and changes that have coloured the last 50 years.

Three years later that first paragraph of My God Dream became the opening words of A Gentle Unfolding, published by David Lovell. David died suddenly four weeks later and David Lovell Publishing folded as a company, leaving my book available through online distributers but lacking any formal publicity. Eventually I regained copyright, and with that in place, Hugh McGinlay and Nicci  Douglas at  Coventry Press accepted A Gentle Unfolding  for re-publication.


$25.95, to order click here.

(ISBN 9780648804413)










I live in Melbourne and once more we are in lockdown. It’s not easy. We had been cautiously  and joyfully edging our way towards something approximating normal, but . . . Now schooling is moving back online,  playgrounds and gyms are closed, coffee with a friend or two will have to wait, while the comfort of religious gatherings  is a month or two away. Employment is uncertain, and hand in hand with it a lifestyle that most Australians had assumed was ours for the taking.

This pandemic is teaching me that all my life I’ve been peering around the corners of the walls that divide us into countries, race and religion. Day after day during this pandemic I’ve experienced those walls tumbling, exposing the city I live in, my country and the whole world in all its ordinariness, kindness, generosity, and yes – stupidity and cruelty too. Maybe lock-down is the way to the openness of empathy, compassion, selflessness and love that I need, that we all need.

For further reflection here is a poem by Lynn Ungar, written in March this year as the pandemic began to take hold. Read it aloud as well as silently or maybe see and hear Lynn herself on the following link.


Pandemic  (by Lynn Ungar)

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.